CALGARY -- For a while last night it looked like a Young Stars game out there - all the energy, all the talent, all the excitement and all the mistakes of unbridled youth as head coach Craig MacTavish threw his kids at the Calgary Flames.
And as it turned out, Robert Nilsson, Andrew Cogliano, Denis Grebeshkov, Kyle Brodziak, Marc Pouliot, Rob Schremp, Fredrik Johansson and Troy Bodie were more than the hosts could handle.
"A lot of the young guys were really outstanding tonight," said MacTavish, after Cogliano's second goal of the night, with 19.3 seconds left in OT, gave Edmonton a 5-4 pre-season win. "Pretty impressive. They know there's a great opportunity here and they look like they're ready. A lot of good performances."
Indeed. Cogliano had the two goals, Nilsson had two assists, Grebeshkov finished plus-3, Pouliot scored, and on and on it went.
"Rob Schremp had his best game," said MacTavish, who also had goals from veterans Jarret Stoll and Shawn Horcoff.
"Brodziak was outstanding tonight. There were a lot of good signs."
And plenty of glitches, like Cogliano's two first period obstruction penalties (unnecessary when you're one of the fastest guys on the ice) and the goal that resulted when he left Jarome Iginla unchecked in the high slot.
"It was going pretty rough in the first period," said Cogliano. "I had a tough time, took two stupid penalties with my stick and one of the goals was completely my fault. But I think I responded well and that's what they wanted. If I would have buried my head, put myself in a shell, I don't think it would have been too good. But for the most part I think I showed up pretty strong in the second half of the game and that's what he wants to see."
He saw a lot of gumption from all of them. They seem to be feeding off each other as camp goes on.
"There's a lot of competition this year and a lot of young guys who are playing well," said Pouliot. "You have to do that if you want to stick."
They're definitely giving Craig MacTavish something to think about.
And he might have something to worry about after watching Ethan Moreau hobble off the ice in the second period.
Moreau, hit on the left ankle by an Adrian Aucoin shot, was on crutches after the game and will go for X-rays today.
"Pretty significant bruise, very painful," said MacTavish.
"We'll asses it Sunday and see how it is. We don't think it's broken."
Knowing Moreau's luck recently, you never know. After a string of healthy seasons (80, 78, 81 and 74 games), he was limited to seven last season because of a shoulder injury.
"I just can't put any weight on it," he said, adding he can't tell if it's broken or not. "But maybe it'll be one of those things that feels better in the morning."
NOTES: IN WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN A SHOW-STOPPER, MARQUEE DEFENCEMEN SHELDON SOURAY AND DION PHANEUF TRIED TO GET AT EACH OTHER IN THE FIRST PERIOD BUT THE SCRUM WAS TOO CROWED AND THE REFS BROKE IT UP ... DWAYNE ROLOSON WENT THE DISTANCE, FACING 37 SHOTS ... ADAM PARDY, ALEX TANGUAY, MARCUS NILSON AND IGINLA SCORED FOR THE FLAMES, WHO ARE WINLESS IN THE PRE-SEASON SO FAR (0-3-0-1).